For many of you, summer break is just around the corner. Perhaps you’ve been counting down the days to be able to spend more time with your children. It’s a break from alarm clocks, backpacks, high carb grab-n-go breakfasts, car line or bus frustrations, school lunches, rivalries with friendships, exhausting homework and projects… You name your frustration. Summer break means pausing from some of the stress and complexity related to the educational demands of being a parent.

For others, however, summer break perhaps means a different kind of frustration. Spending more time with your children can be challenging, especially when those “others kids’” behavior has manifested in your own children. Finding constructive use of their time can be exhausting and making sure you are ready when school starts again… well, it’s too soon to think about that at this point, right?

So how are we supposed to navigate the waters of summer time? What can we do to grow closer to our children during these next few weeks without the pressures of home work and after school activities? And what do you do when the behavior you’ve noticed has begun to overtake the tone of your once peaceful home?

1.     Begin by making a plan. Print the summer calendar and list a few activities your family can enjoy together. It doesn’t need to take a big budget. Summer fun can include splash pads and picnics in the park. It can mean eating frozen popsicles while visiting a farm or your local 4-h fair. Whatever you do, don’t waste the summer so that at the end of your time together you’re saying, “where did the summer go? We had so many things we wanted to do…” List what you want to do, and schedule it now.

2.     Enjoy some of the summer break with your children. Realizing the pressures of work continue regardless of a school schedule, consider taking some time off and being intentional with having fun. Nothing strengthens a relationship like playful engagement, and summer is the perfect time to play. This is your chance to be intentional and to enjoy your children without the distraction of school requirements.

3.     Be brave enough to reach out for help if you need it. If the behaviors you’ve seen are magnified during summer, if your home is controlled by a child who has no tolerance for frustration, or if you find yourself asking why your child behaves in such a way, it might be time to reach out. Make this summer the summer for change. Don’t wait until school starts to breathe relief again just because the teachers and school can handle difficult behavior.

Care To Change will be offering a weekly parent support group this summer. During this group, parents will learn practical methods of helping their children. While parents are learning in one room, the children will be learning in another, and at the end of each group we’ll take time to practice what we’ve learned. Based on Trust Based Relational Intervention ® and Theraplay ® this 12 week group will teach how to empower, engage, connect and correct your child through research based methods and playful interactions.

Summer time can be frustrating, yes, but with intentional planning and getting help when needed, it can be a time of growing closer and being better prepared for next school year.

Contact us today to register for our parenting group or to learn more about Care To Change.

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